Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee

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The Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee (JAFRC) emerged in 1941superseding several earlier committees and organizations that had been developed to secure humanitarian aid for refugees of the Spanish Civil War. Along with providing humanitarian aid, the JAFRC was “dedicated to the rescue and relief of thousands of anti-fascist fighters trapped in Vichy France, and North Africa so that they [could] return to the active fight against the Axis.” Dr. Edward Barsky, leader of American medical volunteers in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and chairman of the North American Spanish Aid Committee, became the national chairman of the JAFRC. Dorothy Parker was the chairman for the Spanish Refugee Appeal, the fundraising arm of the JAFRC. Prominent religious leaders, artists, musicians, scientists and academics were among the sponsors of the JAFRC, including Leonard Bernstein, Albert Einstein, Lillian Hellman, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson and Orson Welles.

Early in 1946 Barsky, Executive Secretary Helen R. Bryan and Executive Board members of JAFRC were subpoenaed to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), to surrender financial records, and to turn over the names of contributors and recipients of aid. After refusing to comply with HUAC demands, Barsky and the entire board of JAFRC were charged with contempt of Congress and convicted in June 1947.

Three years of appeals that challenged the constitutionality of the HUAC hearings ended in 1950 when the Supreme Court refused to review the convictions. The board members were sentenced to three months in prison, and Barsky, as the JAFRC’s chairman, was sentenced to six months in the Federal Penitentiary in Petersburg, Virginia and fined $500. Barsky resigned from JAFRC and in 1951 Dr. Mark Straus, who had served as a physician and a soldier in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion during the Spanish Civil War, was elected chairman of the organization.

Despite the change in leadership, the JAFRC was unable to avoid the scrutiny of the United States government. In 1952 the JAFRC, whose tax-exempt status had been rescinded by the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 1948, was sued by the United States Department of the Treasury for $307,000 in back taxes. The next two years found the JAFRC attempting to ward off efforts by the United States Congress’s Subversive Activities Control Board (SACB) to force the JAFRC to register as a Communist front organization. In 1955, citing harassment by the HUAC, the SACB and the Treasury Department, the board of JAFRC voted to disband.

From the guide to the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee Records, 1942-1954, (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Luscomb, Florence, 1887-. Additional papers of Florence Luscomb, 1888-1988 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973. Correspondence with Carl Zigrosser, 1949. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Glueck, Sheldon, 1896-1990. Papers, 1916-1972 Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Luscomb, Florence, 1887-1985. Papers, 1856-2001 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Guide to the Fredericka Martin Papers, 1926-2019 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Bessie, Alvah Cecil, 1904-. Papers, 1937-1991 (bulk 1936-1939, 1967-1985). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Guide to the Edward K. Barsky Papers, 1936-1970 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Administrative Records, 1941-1957. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf United States. President (1945-1953 : Truman). Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1945. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Kusman, Felix, 1909-1983. Papers, 1937-1983 (bulk 1937-1963). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Papers, 1947-1954 Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Luscomb, Florence, 1887-1985. Papers, 1856-1987 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Koussevitzky, Serge, 1874-1951. Serge Koussevitzky Archive, 1920-1976 (bulk: 1924-1951) Library of Congress. Music Division
creatorOf Marshall, George, 1904-2000. George Marshall papers, 1933-1955. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Bernard, John T. (John Toussaint), 1893-1983. John Toussaint Bernard papers, 1934-1973. Minnesota Historical Society Library
creatorOf Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee Records, 1942-1954 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Presidential Papers, American Unitarian Association, 1936-1958. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
referencedIn Lawrence Graham Brooks papers, 1897-1981 Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Brooks, Lawrence Graham, 1881-1981. Papers, 1897-1981. Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Martin, Fredericka I. Papers, 1926-1990 (bulk 1968-1984). Churchill County Museum
Martin, Fredericka I. Papers, 1926-1990 (bulk 1968-1984). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Todes, Charlotte. Papers, 1927-1956. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Records, 1939-1957. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee. Correspondence with Wanda Gág, 1944. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Records of the Lyman R. Bradley Academic Freedom Case, 1947-1961 New York University. Archives
referencedIn Felix Kusman Papers, Bulk, 1937-1963, 1937-1983 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Alvah Bessie Papers, Bulk, 1936-1985, 1936-1985, (Bulk 1936-1939; 1967-1985) Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Records, 1940-1951. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
referencedIn Charlotte Todes Stern Papers, 1925-1956 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn J. B. Matthews Papers, 1862-1986 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Guide to the Edward K. Barsky Papers, 1936-1970 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Spanish Civil War Poster Collection, Bulk, 1936-1939, 1936-2003 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Barsky, Edward K., 1895-1975. person
associatedWith Bernard, John T. (John Toussaint), 1893-1983. person
associatedWith Bessie, Alvah Cecil, 1904- person
associatedWith Brooks, Lawrence Graham, 1881-1981. person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Eliot, Frederick May, 1889-1958 person
associatedWith Fast, Howard, 1914-2003. person
associatedWith Florence Hope Luscomb, 1887-1985 person
associatedWith Glueck, Sheldon, 1896- person
correspondedWith Koussevitzky, Serge, 1874-1951 person
associatedWith Kusman, Felix, 1909-1983. person
associatedWith Luscomb, Florence, 1887- person
associatedWith Marshall, George, 1904-2000. person
associatedWith Martin, Fredericka I. person
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
associatedWith North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy. corporateBody
associatedWith Office of the Secretary corporateBody
associatedWith Parker, Dorothy, 1893-1967 person
associatedWith Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973. person
associatedWith Robbin, Violet. person
associatedWith Shattuck, Henry Lee, 1879-1971 person
associatedWith Tamiment Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Todes, Charlotte. person
correspondedWith Unitarian Service Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Unitarian Service Committee. Chairman and President, William Emerson. corporateBody
associatedWith Unitarian Service Committee. Executive Director. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. President (1945-1953 : Truman). corporateBody
associatedWith Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. corporateBody
associatedWith Webster, Margaret. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x Refugees.
Spain |x History |y Civil War, 1936-1939 |x Participation, Polish.
Spain |x Politics and government |y 1939-1975 |v Periodicals.
Subject
War correspondents
Anti-fascist movements
Anti-fascist movements
Occupation
Activity

Corporate Body

Active 1933

Active 1955

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